Showing posts with label La vie en France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label La vie en France. Show all posts

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Un Weekend Aveyronnais

one of the many, many things that i will definitely miss in France is the marché. there is nothing quite like it. as you already know, France is all about food. and all the territories have their own specialties.

this weekend, there is the Marché Aveyronnais at the Place du Capitole. we took the opportunity to go this morning since it was quite a mild winter weather we are having today.

my husband, as you know is of Aveyron origin. for those who do not know where it is, it is still in the south of France and still in the region of Midi-Pyrénées (like Toulouse) but it is a few notches higher up in the map.

image from:

it is a region famous for roquefort cheese (that smelly moldy blue cheese), laguiole knife (we received them as wedding gift from my parents-in-law), and the world's tallest viaduct (Millau viaduct).

we were greeted with this huge sign of a stall selling farçous upon entering the vicinity

farçous is made with eggs, and some leafy veggies that look like spinach, which they call blette in french. my mother-in-law made them last christmas (see here) and they tasted a lot, lot better than these ones.


aside from farçous, you have all the different kinds of humongous bread. can you imagine the size of the oven where they were cooked?

i always say you can bludgeon somebody to death with these huge thick-crusted bread... and i know somebody whose gums bled after eating them. i'm used to them by now, though.

you can pair them with some confiture (jam) like these:

cherries and honey jam -- i just had to buy one of these because the Lola selling them was so nice. and they tasted so good.

of course, it's not a real Aveyron market without the presence of Gateaux à la brôche.

gateaux à la brôche

and i was able to see how they were made for the first time.

how to cook gateau à la brôche

we also bought something to drink.

different kinds and flavors of alcoholic beverages

hubby and his Aveyronnais friend even made me choose the wine to buy. we chose something from Marcillac. that place we visited last year when my baby was just a couple of months' old.

other stuff you will find in the market, aside from food:

some nice rustic-looking pottery

these pottery items reminded me of a present my husband's Lola in Millau gave me the first time i visited France. unfortunately, it was broken in transit when we moved from Singapore to France.

and lots of grandmother stuff like these ancient-looking tapestries.

you see a lot of stuff for sale that mostly old people will like. Aveyron has quite an aged population, like most of France's countryside. fortunately, my husband is not among this elder majority. :)

a brass band of Lolos. Aveyron, i think has one of the most number of senior population in all of France.

we bought quite a lot of good stuff for lunch. and to complete the weekend aveyronnais, we even had a guest from there -- my husband's childhood friend. he bought us a huge slice of cheese which is from the terroir of Roquefort. and also, a gateau aux noix (cake with nuts).

top left to bottom: fricandeau (paté), gateau aux noix (cake with nuts), saucisse de canard (duck saucisse), some cheese

it was quite a good meal. heavy, but really good.

the gateau aux noix was a bit dry but still delicious.

the wine that i chose was quite poivré (had some taste of pepper). i seem to like this kind of wine. it might be too strong for some. but it kinda reminds me of the wines from Chile that i used to like a lot when i was still in Singapore.

i find it quite fun that they made an acrosstics of their wine label. :)

and of course, my duck saucisse! the only ones available in the market were a bit too dry, though.

duck saucisse

bon weekend à tous! :)

Friday, March 8, 2013


for non-french speakers: photo captions are in english.

il faisait très beau le weekend dernier. pour profiter le soleil, on a décidé d'aller à Lourdes.

je ne suis pas très catholique mais je trouve les vieux architectures comme les vieilles basiliques et cathédrales vraiment intéressants. et il faut profiter le reste de temps que je suis encore ici dans le sud de la France pour visiter tous les beaux endroits.

en route, dans la voiture, on avait la vue magnifique de la chaine des Pyrénées. ils sont plus magnifiques dans l'hiver avec les glaces partout.

approaching the ice-capped mountains of the Pyrenees

doesn't this just make you want to run around with your arms wide open, singing, "the hills are alive with the sound of music" ? :)

avant d'arriver à la basilique, on a trouvé un restaurant Italian qui est vraiment sympa pour déjeuner.

ham, chorizo, artichoke, dried tomatoes and olives for the entrée at an authentic Italian Pizzeria called Amalfi... makes me want to visit the Amalfi Coast. :)

some creamy vanilla-flavored dessert with nuts

la Basilique du Rosaire est très originale et impréssionante. à droite, on se trouve la grôtte. avant la grotte, il y a quelques robinets pour prendre de l'eau bénite. j'ai achété quelques petits bouteilles pour en prendre et pour en amener à mes vielles grand-mêres catholiques aux Philippines.

the Byzantine-inspired Rosary Basilica

la façade de la basilique est très belle avec les mosaïques partout. ces mosaïques se trouvent aussi partout sur les sols, sur les murs, et sur le dôme à l'interieur.

the entrance to the basilica with words saying, "door of life". it's very original because of the mosaic everywhere.

this basilica is ornamented with mosaic from floor to ceiling.

on avait de la chance quand on a visité parce qu'il n y avait pas trop de monde. c'est pas comme d'habitude. normalement, il y a plein de visiteurs dans ce site tres connu.

the Lourdes Grotto

this magnificent basilica was built on top of the grotto

bottling up some holy H2O for pasalubong to my religious grandparents back in the PI

bon weekend à tous!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Shakespeare and Company

if you are ever in Paris, take the time to visit Shakespeare and Company. It's a really old bookshop along the Seine, right beside the Notre Dame. It was frequented by a lot of famous writers back in the day. If visiting old bookshops is your thing, you wouldn't want to miss this one.

View of the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral from a park right beside Shakespeare and Company; couldn't resist taking this pic because it's so beautiful in this golden winter light.

I was able to drop by when I visited Paris for the second time. All the books inside were English books ranging from the classics to the contemporary. But when you go up the old rickety stairs to the premier étage, you are transported back in time as you find yourself surrounded by old, dusty, hard-bound books, complete with cozy nooks that temptingly invite you to sit down and read. These books are not for sale though.

The entrance to the bookshop; outside, there are plenty of books on sale

It was not an easy task finding a book to buy as the ones that I was looking for were not available. Luckily, my husband found an Ernest Hemingway book for me, which was sitting right on the cashier counter. The one he found was written in French. I think it was the only book in french that they had for sale. But since it was written by an American author, I of course opted to get the English version. This one was obscurely tucked away for some reason, and they needed the stepladder to retrieve it.

i super love the packaging.

Despite having read a lot of the classics back in high school, I have never really had the occasion to read anything from Ernest Hemingway. For one, I had already supersaturated myself with all the Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters' novels before I made my way up to the likes of Ernest Hemingway. And by that time, I couldn't take in any more of cheesy drama since I was forewarned that Hemingway had the propensity for this.

The fancy book cover featuring Hemingway himself posing in front of Shakespeare and Co

When you buy a book, they ask if you'd want to get it stamped. why wouldn't I? :)

The book I bought was called A Moveable Feast. It is a personal diary of Hemingway, recounting his experiences back in the days when he was living in Paris as a struggling young writer. So far, I have read a couple of chapters, and I still find it interesting. There was even a chapter about Shakespeare and Company, back when it was still a library kept by Sylvia Beach. Somehow, reading this book makes me feel like i'm revisiting Paris for the third time. No regrets about buying this book for a meager price of 12 euros.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Top Chef

it's the season for Top Chef again. and so also starts the highest high of all drama on French reality TV.

the host and chef judges of the show

everybody knows that France is best known for having the best food in the world. when you say best, first of all, it means the food is fresh, well-grown, and healthy. then, it should also be beautifully presented. lastly, and of course, most importantly, it should taste great.

but to be able to really comprehend the french standard for the "best" food, you have to actually live for a while in France to absorb the culture and the ways of the people here.  and if you have lived here long enough, you will understand that the best food is a product of art, science, mathematics, sweat and blood, and all that drama... and you get to see all of this if you watch Top Chef.

you would actually think that being a woman, and coming from a country with all the sappiest, cheesiest, corniest soap opera in the world, i would be able to completely relate when i watch this TV show with my husband. but to be honest, i have never really been the cheesy type. and on the contrary, the overabundance of maudlin entertainment in the Philippines is one of the reasons that drove me out of the country.

plenty of times in the show, they go on and on about a particular dish as if it's some type of hallucinogenic drug. that's when it gets a bit too much for me. and it doesn't really help that i have never tried any sort of hallucinogenic drug before. the closest would be the anesthesia that i got when i had my c-section. and that was not really a pleasant, albeit, awe-inspiring experience at all.

Papaye-chocolat-orange en trompe l'oeil de carottes rapées (this dish is called a trompe l'oeil, which means to fool the eye. it may seem like grated carrots to you, but it's really grated papaya with chocolate and orange inside.

i must admit though, i get awe-struck despite myself, when i see how much dedication, enthusiasm, hard work and all the effort in the world they muster to be able to achieve perfection in each dish. ça c'est vraiment impressionant. and it definitely makes all the unnecessary drama a lot more bearable and even forgivable.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Foie gras for the new year

My husband cooked up a special new year's eve meal with foie gras.

the chef at work

foie gras poêlé

As you know, duck is one of the major produce in the south of France, and foie gras de canard (duck foie gras) is a specialty. There is also foie gras from the goose but the duck one is more common.

foie gras poêlé with some risotto paired with dry white wine

Foie gras usually goes well with sweet wine, but we paired it with some dry white wine from the region famous for truffles. I liked this wine very much. According to some wine expert i know, you'll know if a wine is really good if it passes through the throat really smoothly and when all the flavors linger in your taste buds even after you've swallowed it.

Personally, I like any wine that is smooth on the throat and is not too bitter or too old. Old wine tends to have these sediments that gather at the bottom of the glass, which i really don't like.

melts in your mouth, like M&M's :)

And you know foie gras is really good and really fresh if it just melts in your mouth like butter. I like it like this, but not in huge servings.

And since he knows these are my favorites, we had this for dessert:

strawberry tart

The next day, we still had some leftover foie gras from last night. we didn't want to waste it, so we had it for lunch again.

foie gras poêlé again with some beets, mache and rocket salad

bet you wanna have a bite! :)

This time with some salad on the side.

And we had some dessert too.

a box of chocolates with special holiday packaging

I just love these Christmasy packaging on chocolates during the holidays.

Bonne annee!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Au Marché de Noël

If you visit the Place du Capitole de Toulouse during this time of the year, you will find yourself surrounded by various delicacies and produce of Southern France and also from the rest of the world.

You have the famous nougats and candied fruit stands

These candied fruits are oozing with sugary sweetness... gives me toothache just by looking at them

Nougats are extra-soft and chewy here in France, but also extra-expensive

Some tea to go with the sweets

You wouldn't believe how crazy they are about tea in these parts... good for me!

Various spices from abroad

Spices, mostly of African origin

Some Himalayan and pink rock salts

Some well-loved local snacks

Aligot and Tartiflette stand -- these snacks are made from potatoes and cheese -- both of which are staple food here in France

And hot wine to beat the cold.

I should try this

There was also entertainment for the kids.

Stage show for kids

And for the not-so-young ones.

You can throw pie on this guy's face for a Euro

This year, we went during the day, but last year we went during the evening, and it looked like this:

Le Marché de noël 2011 par nuit

Bonne fête et joyeux noël, tout le monde!